Glentauchers 23, 1996-2019, Barrel 3969, 51.9% – Whiskydudes

It’s one of those rare bottlings with a million sub-labels. This one is from the ‘Playful Proverbs’ series. It’s labeled ‘Do Not Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth’. It’s bottled for the 10th anniversary of Het Whisky Forum, by Whiskydudes.

This last bit, Whiskydudes, apparently is a Dutch group of people bottlings some whiskies. There are five releases now, of which this Glentauchers is one.

Now, I approached this with a bit of apprehension, since I’m generally not a huge fan of Glentauchers. I had also completely missed this bottling, since it’s from Het Whisky Forum and I’ve not visited that website in several years.

Image from Whiskybase

Anyway, decent age, bourbon cask, single cask for a group of people who know what’s what. Let’s dive in!

Sniff:
Big and bold on the nose, lots of heavy malty scents. Fresh apple pie, Dutch butter cake and some apple peels.

Sip:
The palate is big too, quite typical for the Glentauchers I know. Lots of barley and quite some oak too. Oak shavings, wholemeal bread and dried apples.

Swallow:
On the finish there’s a lot of warm, leathery funkiness. Quite long, with some vanilla and apple, and some cake batter.

The clunkiness is quite typical for Glentauchers, and while I generally like some weirdness in a dram, Glentauchers just doesn’t seem to work for me, on average. This one is no different.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine dram and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, but it’s not my style of whisky.

86/100

Available from Dramtime for € 91.50

Posted in Glentauchers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bowmore 17, 2002-2020, 1st Fill Oloroso Hogshead TWB1010, 54.6% – The Whisky Barrel

I have no idea how someone would come up to bottle a cask of Islay whisky to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the moonlanding, but I’m glad they did. With this being a 2002 vintage, I think this is more-or-less from the same era of distillate as the Devil’s Casks from a couple of years ago.

The color is tremendous and is generally not something I care about, but when something looks more like strong espresso than whisky, it tends to get some attention.

I was lucky enough that SJ (a whisky buddy) was kind enough to share a sample from his bottle, and I recently sat down to properly assess it (as far as I’m qualified to assess something, and call it ‘properly’…).

Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
This is old fashioned sherry and peat. There are hints of fruit and spices and leather, as well as smoke and brine and tar. A delicious combination of all that you would want from a whisky like this. Some mocha later on, and sandy beaches as well.

Sip:
There’s more heat on the arrival than I expected, to be honest. While it’s not a bad thing I wouldn’t mind a bit more gentleness. Apart from that it’s the expected dry sherry with loads of ground baking spices like cinnamon and clove, nutmeg even. There’s also ground coffee and sawdust. Leather and some dates.

Swallow:
The finish is a little bit more fruity than the palate with more dates and prunes and even some cherries. Very dark with even a hint of bitter chocolate on top of the mocha.

This is glorious! I thought Bowmore wasn’t about producing stuff like this anymore, it’s a profile that hasn’t shown up in a few years. However, when you find something like this it’s enough to make you giddy!

And I accept that this whisky is probably not for everyone, since I know some people who would consider this to be too much of a good thing. Too much sherry, like chewing a bit of the whisky’s cask. However, once in a while, when done right, I absolutely love this.

91/100

Posted in Bowmore | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Braeval 30, 1989, Bourbon Hogshead, 50.4% – SMWS (113.34, Magically Mediterranean)

Image from SMWS

It’s been quite a while since an SMWS bottling crossed my path. I’ve not been a member since 2015 and even though they’re marketing nicely and I always get a bit giddy when I see the rather cool bottles, I just can’t bring myself to pay for the right/chance to buy bottles.

What also doesnt help is that they’re generally not that affordable anymore. A decade ago prices of SMWS bottlings were pretty low compared to similar releases by other bottlers, but I don’t think that’s still the case. Of course, this is rather subjective, but still.

Then TD (a whisky buddy) gave me a sample of this on a recent ‘let’s meet up and exchange massive amounts of tiny vials of whisky’ morning. Interesting stuff because A: it’s old, and B: it’s from a rather obscure distillery. I’m game!

Sniff:
Very light with hints of apple, dried maracuja and some vanilla. There’s some oak, salinity and hay.

Sip:
A gentle arrival with some woody bite after a few seconds. There’s vanilla, apple sauce, pear, salinity and hay again.

Swallow:
The finish is a bit warmer than the palate, and slightly less sweet. Still, mostly apple, pear and hay.

Braeval is one of those distilleries which product gets used in blends for the most part. In this case, it’s pretty clear why. There’s not a lot going on, but what is there is fairly simple but tasty. I can imagine adding some complexity with other whiskies can really add to a dram like this.

Having said that, this is nice and interesting. But in the end it’s a bit too simple and straight forward.

87/100

Available at the SMWS for € 260 (see what I mean by not being too affordable?)

Posted in Braeval | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glenfarclas 15, 52.1% – OB for The Netherlands

Contrary to yesterday, today’s whisky does state that it actually is Glenfarclas. It’s also not teaspooned, matured in refill and first fill casks and not nearly as dark.

It is, however, 4% stronger in alcohol content. Still not a huge belter or anything, but I like that ‘we’ got a cask strength release from Glenfarclas.

Image from Whiskybase

Let’s just dive in, since I have zero inspiration for more rambling beforehand!

Sniff:
The nose starts slightly feinty, with notes of mold and soil and old wood. Dunnage warehouses, with hints of mushrooms and spices. Old fruit and lots of oak.

Sip:
On the palate I get dry oak, porous and corky. Like rotting wood, or mulch. There’s notes of fruit with a bitter and spicy hint. Red chili, plum stones and sticky dates.

Swallow:
The finish brings hints of orange, out of the blue. It adds a bit to the bitterness that was already there, because it’s mostly pithy notes.

This is quite an interesting whisky, to be honest. It does feel a bit inconsistent between the nose, palate and finish, but absolutely not bad. I like the dunnage and moldy notes, and wouldn’t have disliked more of that on the palate. I also would have liked for the orange notes to show up earlier.

All in all it is a bit inconsistent and all over the place for a higher mark, but I wouldn’t regret having bought a bottle. I didn’t, I only got myself a sample of this.

86/100

Posted in Glenfarclas | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Family Silver, 1st Fill Oloroso Cask 4630, 44% – Cooper’s Choice

I bought a sizeable sample of this whisky upon being told this is Glenfarclas. Of course, with it being a blended malt, it’s most likely teaspooned, but there’s no guarantee it’s Glenfarclas. It could very well be, but where all undisclosed Speyside whiskies were once said to be ‘Farclas, that no longer holds true.

Image from Whiskybase

I’ve also seen comments of this being Macallan, but at 19 years old and actually affordable to mere mortals, that seems unlikely. Balvenie is also an option, but technically so are a lot of other Speyside distilleries.

Let’s just stick to ‘we don’t know’ for this one and just enjoy the booze!

Sniff:
With a color like this there’s no surprise to this offering huge sherry notes. There’s a slight spicy edge with cinnamon, clove and black pepper. Hints of sawdust, balsamic vinegar and stewed strawberries.

Sip:
Quite peppery, more so than I expected. Black pepper and some chilis, too. Baking spices and some bitter notes like almonds and cherry stones. Cherries, strawberries and that note of balsamic vinegar.

Swallow:
The finish is long and gentle, more focus on the red fruits and less so on the bitter notes.

It’s nice that Cooper’s Choice decided to bottle this at 44%. There’s a trend going on that everything seems to be bottled at high octane levels because that’s what’s cool. However, there’s so much more to be discovered when there’s a bit less focus on the alcohol.

I like the red fruits and balsamic notes. There’s no vineger like acidity, it’s more like a balsamic reduction. All in all rather good whisky, with lots of flavors.

88/100

Posted in Undisclosed | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Foursquare Sagacity, 12yo, Madeira cask, 48%

I’m not following the rum industry in any way, shape or form, but it turns out they’re finishing their drinks in different casks too! This Foursquare bottling was matured in bourbon barrels first (no surprise there) before it was finished in a Madeira cask.

Image from Zeewijck

Now, contrary to the recent Springbank review, I won’t be able to define whether or not the spirit is overpowered by the casks used, since I don’t know how ‘regular’ Foursquare tastes. That might be hard to figure out since every bottling they put out seems to be special in some way.

Anyway, I got this bottle a few months ago after Serge gave it 90 points on Whiskyfun. It suddenly sold out but I was just in time to snag up the last bottle at Drinks & Gifts, and use it for a tasting. Contrary to all other bottles used in that tasting, I kept this one to myself and finished it over the last couple of months.

Sniff:
Warm and summery with lots of ripe tropical fruits. A layer of richness with oak and molasses, golden syrup and burnt sugar. Baked banana, papaya, mango.

Sip:
The palate is intense, with a bit of peppery heat. The richness fills that up nicely, with lots of oaky spices, sweet molasses and a slight bitter touch of burnt sugar. Still quite syrupy and fruity, more roasted mango and grilled banana.

Swallow:
The finish is mellow and sweet. Long and intense with fruit, spices, oak and molasses. Some dryness to boot.

Even though I’ve written rum tasting notes before I barely think I’m doing this justice. There’s a lot happening and I know there’s more to discovered or defined, which I’ve not been able to pin down or describe at all. However, even with my limited rum-palate, this is epic stuff and utterly delicious.

It also helps that it’s not bottled at 60% or so, but at a very nice and easy sailing 48, which seems to be spot on for my preference anyway.

Luckily, this is ‘Mark XI’, which suggests there will be more in the future. If so, I hope to be in time for one because this is just great stuff!

90/100

Posted in - Rum, Foursquare | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ledaig 11, 2009-2020, Hogshead 700510, 58.9% – Whiskybase

Another 10,000 unique bottles were added to Whiskybase, so there had to be another single cask bottling. This time around, they picked a Ledaig, or a peated Tobermory, from a bourbon cask.

Generally, as the last couple of years have proven, Ledaig is a force to be reckoned with. Interestingly, that doesn’t seem to translate to Tobermory being that too. With this being ‘just’ 11 years old, it wasn’t too expensive and it didn’t take long for the bottle-share to fill up.

Image from Whiskybase

My own sample was emptied a week or so ago, when I wrote my notes. I wasn’t in a rush since this whisky didn’t need more exposure. As with most things from Archives and/or Whiskybase, it sells out rather quickly. Of course, the bottle is now available in the secondary market at not-too-inflated a price. It’s only about € 20 over the initial retail price, and with Whiskybase taking 8%, the sellers aren’t making any profit, I guess.

Sniff:
A beach bonfire of peat initially, with lots of peatsmoke and brine. Barbecued apples, notes of tar and fish. Very, VERY, coastal. Slightly oily, with engine grease and some diesel. Also straw, marram grass.

Sip:
Bone dry, with salty coastal notes, oaky sharpness. Chalk, vanilla and oak planks.

Swallow:
The finish carries on down the same vein. Salty, briny, tarry, lots of smoke, grass and straw.

This seems to be the quintessential coastal whisky. And while it does lack in complexity, it does make up for it by being so ridiculously focused on these coastal notes.

I like that it’s a bit dirty. There’s some engine oil and diesel happening. There’s tar and fish. There’s still enough to be discovered, if you manage to wrap your head around the almost 60% ABV.

87/100

Posted in Ledaig, Tobermory | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Starward Fortis, Batch 2, Australian Red Wine Barrels, 50%

Normally I would start a post like this with something like ‘generally I try to avoid wine casks’, but with The Duchess and Michiel Wigman releasing good ones recently, that doesn’t seem to be true anymore.

I bought this bottle a couple of months ago in a discount, mostly for use in an upcoming tasting I was hosting. Another part of the bottle went to some shared samples and there was still plenty left to get a good impression of it.

Last week I finished the last sip at said tasting, and in the afternoon before it I decided it was time to finally write a review of the whisky.

It’s one of my first Australian whiskies, although I’ve had some left and right. I never got around to reviewing any of them on my blog. This has mostly to do with low-ish expectations and, since we’re half a planet away, fairly high prices. And when something got a high score somewhere it instantly sold out at too high a price still. So, no, there wasn’t much to go by.

Image from Whiskybase

Then, for some reason, I did buy this. NAS, wine cask, not much info to go by, still sixty Euros a bottle. And how did it work out?

Sniff:
Initially there are lots of wine like tannins and quite a lot of oak notes. These are quickly followed by some red fruits. Cherries, blackberries. Some almonds for a minor bitter note too. The tannins are quite intense, more so than I remembered from previous dram from the bottle. After a little while I also get some notes of butterscotch and chocolate.

Sip:
The palate is very dry and tannic as well. The bitter notes are slightly exaggerated compared to the nose, but the fruity notes are present as well. Blue grapes, blackberries, cherries.

Swallow:
The finish is largely the same as the palate as the very dry and tannic notes linger most. Bitter almonds, cherries, blackberries.

It’s a bit of a weird one. There’s not much notes of ‘whisky’ in it, and the fruity notes are very wine-like. Almost like it’s some kind of distilled wine or a brandy of some kind. However, it’s quite drinkable and since I rather like bitter notes in whisky, I’m not all against it. Although I don’t think I’ll quickly buy another bottle.

84/100

Available here for € 69

Posted in Starward | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Springbank 17, 2002-2020, Rum/Bourbon finished in Madeira, 47.8%

Let’s make recipes more complicated than necessary, shall we?

This whisky matured for 14 years in Bourbon and Rum barrels, to be finished for three years in a fresh Madeira cask. All 9200 bottles were released last year and it made some waves with Social Media groups adoring the bottle and being pissed off with eachother for not being able to get a bottle.

I was lucky that my local retailer thought of me when a bottle came in, at a much fairer price than is currently the norm on the secondary market. With prices starting at € 319 at the moment, it’s clear that Springbank has a fairly ridiculous fanbase.

Of course, an average score of almost 89 points on Whiskybase it’s not strange that this is a popular bottling. Also of course, with Springbank having so many fans, there’s bound to be a bit of a less critical view of stuff, since ‘everything’ they make is supposed to be awesome.

Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
It starts with some rich notes without losing its more crisp coastal notes that are common for Springbank. Hazelnuts, peanuts, and a lesser note of almonds. No bitterness though! Hints of dried prunes and dates.

Sip:
The palate is more cask driven. Sawdust, almond flour, peanutbutter. Some hazelnuts too. Quite ‘Madeira’. A whiff of smoke with hints of dried fruits like prunes and dates. Some charry notes from the cask too.

Swallow:
The finish is surprisingly ashy, the charry notes seem to take over. Roasted nuts, but the fruity notes are almost completely gone.

Well. How to rate this. Sure, this is good stuff, but it’s not as stellar as I was expecting. The nuttiness is quite typical for Madeira casks, so it’s very good that it’s well represented. However, I do miss Springbank’s typical funkiness. The charry notes are a bit strange too.

So, there’s a lot of things happening because of the Madeira cask, but apart from the coastal note on the nose it seems like the cask has overpowered the distillery character. And I really like Springbank’s distillery character.

In my book this whisky is good, but not great.

88/100

Posted in Springbank | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blended Scotch Whisky 40yo, 1980-2020, 44.7% – Cadenhead’s Club

Last year’s Cadenhead’s Club release was this venerable blended Scotch from a single sherry butt. Released before Brexit came into effect it was rather easy to get a bottle over from Campbeltown and when I saw the age, the style and the price I didn’t need much convincing.

Recently, I finally sat down to taste it, and even more recently I emptied it with my father in law. When celebrating, you have to celebrate well. In this case, my youngest daughter’s fourth birthday. No more daycare for us!

Since this is whisky from a single sherry butt I think it’s a ‘blended at birth’ whisky, which means as much as that it was blended before it matured, instead of afterwards which is the regular way of doing things.

There is no other information on the bottle, but with Cadenhead it wouldn’t surprise me if it is all from Edrington stock. They have been using blends like that for a few years during their Warehouse Tastings. In early 2019 it was a 38 year old, so it being 40 years old little over a year later makes sense…

Sniff:
Very gentle, but quite rich. Old oak, wood spices, baking spices. Some bitter notes of prune stones, cherry stones. A whiff of espresso, strangely.

Sip:
The palate is a tad thin at first, before the sawdust and wood spices come through. Tree bark, ground clove, cinnamon, old oak. Cherry stones, bitter espresso.

Swallow:
The finish brings more fruit. Rich dates, prunes, cherries. Long with baking spices and toasted oak sawdust.

Not the most complex whisky, but it’s very good. The sherry influence isn’t too big and there’s quite a lot of oak without it being dominant. Of course, spirity notes are long gone, but it still is whisky instead of oak juice.

It benefits from the use of proper glassware, and I found this to work very well from theses spherical blenders’ glasses that have become popular in recent years. Maybe they’re called blenders’ glasses because they work well with blended whiskies?

89/100

Only available in the secondary market for around € 400 now.

Posted in - Blended Whisky | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment